PHILADELPHIA — The Pennsylvania Delegation didn’t get to hear Sen. Bernie Sanders or actor Danny Glover on Wednesday morning, but they should be listening to one of their own.
Mike Cordaro, 29 of Fayette County, is a Sanders delegate and he, as is the case with his fellow Bernie supporters, is disappointed that the Vermont senator and his progressive agenda fell short in the quest for the Democratic nomination for president.
But Cordaro is a Democrat and he is ready to do what he can to elect Hillary Clinton.
“I will support Hillary, but not blindly,” Cordaro said over breakfast. “The Sanders movement has done a lot to improve the Democratic Party. To walk away now, would be foolish for any Democrat.”
And that is what happened Tuesday night after Clinton was nominated by acclamation on a motion offered by Sanders himself. The Wells Fargo Center rocked as the song “Happy” played and delegates danced, cheered and smiled.
Except for hundreds of Sanders delegates who decided to leave the celebration. Many have said that they are unsure of who they will vote for in November. The calmest reactions have been that they will wait and see what Clinton does to inject Sanders’ progressive ideas into her campaign platform. Others have said they will never vote for Clinton and would opt for a third party candidate. The worst reactions have been that some “feeling the Bern” of defeat would voted for Republican Donald Trump.
“I will say I’m a bit reluctant to vote for Hillary,” Cordaro said. “She may not be the candidate I wanted, but in the end, as Democrats, we have to support the party.”
Cordaro said, like many Sanders supporters, he’s concerned about Clinton’s sincerity and her true intentions to incorporate some of Sanders’ progressive ideas into her campaign.
“But really, what is the alternative?” Cordaro asked. “Even though we may not believe exactly what she says, we have to give her the opportunity to shift to what the Sanders people stand for, even if at first it’s only incremental change.”
Cordaro said Sanders did manage to get the Democratic Party and Clinton to take notice.
“We’re seeing much more discussion about the issues now,” he said. “This has been more than a Sanders political movement — its resulted in a large shift for the Democratic Party.”
Cordaro said he will spend the rest of his time at the Democratic National Convention talking to his fellow Sanders delegates to urge them to stay involved, get on committees and to support the Democratic ticket.
One Sanders delegate that needs no convincing is Eric Graff of Mountain Top. Graff was at Wednesday’s breakfast meeting and he said he is 100 percent behind Clinton.
“I’m not a Bernie or bust guy,” Graff said. “Hillary is by far the most qualified candidate in the race.”
Graff said he is sure some 95 percent or more of Sanders supporters will eventually vote for Clinton.
“Everybody has their own process,” Graff said. “In the end, the Democratic Party will unite behind Clinton and send her to the White House.”
Graff said First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech to the convention went a long way toward uniting the party.
“Her speech was unifying, not just for the party, but for the entire country,” Graff said.
Grace McGregor Kramer, delegate from Scranton, has supported Clinton from the beginning. She said former President Bill Clinton’s speech also drew Democrats together. She has been talking to Sanders delegates, saying she feels they will support Clinton
“When you talk to them one on one, you realize we want the same things for America” she said. “And to achieve that, you have to vote Democrat.”